tv Clara Barton and the Missing Men Project CSPAN October 10, 2015 7:05pm-8:01pm EDT
s tour is going next online. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. iehm talksamie st about clara barton during the civil war. ehm argues that she played a major role in playing for -- caring for soldiers during and after the war. it is about an hour. everyone, andoon, thank you for coming out this rainy day. i am the library and here at the .eabody room the people to room is a special collection of georgetown neighborhood history, and is
part of the district of columbia public library special collections which consists of the washingtonian and black studies. both of those are located at the martin luther king jr. library. i would like to welcome miss jamie stiehm back. she has become one of our regulars here talking about a disparate group from american history. she is a syndicate columnist and m,ntributor to usnews.co antedate she will speak about civilbarton remarkable war humanitarian work. [applause] ms. stiehm: this is the perfect place to be speaking about civil war washington. the room itself takes us there. i am happy to see all of you. i will speak for about 20 minutes and then open the floor to questions.
you probably know that clara nurse.was a civil war there was much more to her than that. humanitarian. if she were alive today she might have one the nobel peace prize. in 1861, clara barton was a 39 year old single woman with new england written all over her demeanor. she could not rest easy until she found a way to join the army. from the first day that the flood -- blood was spilled in civil war, in baltimore, four died in baltimore.
she was an raged because several of her -- enraged because several of her school friends were among the dead. she rushed to the regiment's aid , and self defined herself as one of the on the people that was there just for the soldiers, outside the government to ease their pain and suffering. she left her job as a copyist. she was a single, self-supporting woman who lived on 7th street here in washington. she left her good job to witness scenes of mass misery that broke all the record books. the armyot sign up for nursing core organized by dicks.addicts -- dorsia
the unknown. into civilian in the fog of war. the mostssed many of harrowing battles. for one day, that was the bloodiest day in civil war history -- and military history. to the farmhouse on the firing lines and she went to work. lots of supplies given to her by women's aid groups that wanted to help soldiers. they saw she had brought the latest thing, a lantern. to illuminate the house, the
porch, the surgeries that could not wait until morning. later, in a little-known coda career, she war went on an army mission to andersonville. it was a nightmarish georgia prison, or war camp, where thousands of, seated corpses -- corpsess of emaciated lay in mass graves. she honored the dead with similar military burial. this is the thing that the president personally asked clara barton to undertake. stanton was so tough that even president lincoln was afraid of him. it was a huge honor for her to go to andersonville.
massachusetts sixth regiment after being stoned in the streets of baltimore, losing four of their ranks, they retired to the capital in the new senate chamber to recuperate. the building was eerily quiet because the southern senators had said their farewells like jefferson davis. basically the capital was out of business. although the chamber that we know well had just been built. the building was empty of lawmakers, and outside the capital had no crowning dome. it was still a work in progress. barton arrived soon after with her spirits lifted in furious sympathy for her home state men and friends. she made herself quickly busy and indispensable in the chamber.
she read the newspaper aloud from the senate's president distributed which he had collected of her own volition. she gave encouragement and her clear, low voice. in itself a comfort. soldiers start for a woman's presence, fighting for their lives, said just listening to her comforted them. sparkhe did served as a and a template for barton's resolved to go to the war front. whether it was a bruising defeat at the second battle of bull run, or a dispiriting loss at fredericksburg, she came armed with relief supplies to treat the injured of the army of the potomac.
was especially bad because it was in the winter of 1862. the confederate army had set up a trap for the union soldiers. it was a losing battle with somebody injured that family members came to their site walt whitman. barton, he was galvanized by the civil war. nurse toke a volunteer soldiers, whom he visited nearly everyday. getting access to the camp's was made easier for clara barton thanks to letters written by her ally, senator henry wilson. on had to overcome cultural obstacles and bureaucratic resistance to requests to get passes to the
front. she spent valuable time here on 7th street, anxious about delays go to the battlefield. where the union and confederate armies crashed, she cooked meals forps and hundreds. her own apple pie made a good dessert. she changed bedsheets, even those covered with dysentery. she cleaned and tended to one's. wounds. she walked along the ward and offered sips of water or whiskey. lovesickned to the stories of a soldier whose real name was mary. a teenage runaway who ran from wisconsin to find her sweetheart in a regiment.
a soldier begged clara barton to cut out an unbearable bullet from his cheek. all she had was a penknife, but she did it, with another soldier holding his head. did a lotords, barton of everything that desperately needed to be done. nursing did not exist as a profession before the war. it was urgently invented on the job. the civil war, just passed it second summer, had already caused more bloodshed than either side ever anticipated with no end in sight. observed,torian has the american people had nothing to prepare them for the profound scale of death that the civil war brought.
it affected lives in every remote city, even the island of nantucket which had stayed neutral. clara barton held up pretty well under challenging conditions to say the least. she slept in a tent, or in the barracks. at other times, if union army soldiers decided to take a more spacious break, living was easier. times were a winter breather. the time she began to fall in love with a human army officer. that's something they don't tell you in second grade. [laughter] starting in spring of 1863, barton dwelled on the
island of hilton head, south carolina. it was the heart of rebel country. south carolina was the most intransigent of all the states. withe summer wore on, hostilities raging between the sea islands -- have you ever been there? way -- webed it this are being scorched by the sun, killed by the waves, rock -- chilled by the waves, rocked by the trenches -- tempest, toiling day after day in the trenches. she was there until a summer day when union chips shelled the confederate held wagner on a nearby island. barton watched them apartment -- the bombardment from lookout hill.
she was a beautiful writer. she cut the scene so vividly. it was grand the armed description, despite the battle turning out badly for the union. again, a massachusetts regiment was making history. the famous 54th. composed of african-american soldiers, commanded by a white officer, shaw. theed shortly after emancipation proclamation, the 54th led the leading brigades against -- shaw and roughly 200 of 600 of his soldiers died in this fierce engagement. full dress, crossed the units and all -- bayonets and all.
it was a testament to the bravery and gallantry of the 54th, because they went where no one else dared to go. this stoked the fire of racist hatred leading to a policy on paper that all black soldiers captured would be brutally treated and hang. ed. certain death with no exchanges. the civil war cut uglier and uglier and demeanor -- meaner. it was an absolute nightmare that people considered it as a sporting event in the beginning, but then it escalated far past anyone's nightmares. tending to the wounded and dying soldiers at the beach hospital a bloodstained sand, she had
set exchange with an african-american soldier returning. a former slave who had and 854.ed -- enlisted in 1 he said, he knew that he was dying, but he thanked god that his children would be free. for me, that is the saddest line i have ever read about the civil war, and she was there to witness. this is according to barton's biographer. such a man, barton felt, was a soldier of freedom. at the scene she told the dying black soldiers that they were soldiers for freedom. sheikh cut the meaning -- she caught the meaning of the word so beautifully. she was on the same page as abraham lincoln. most people originally thought of the vicivil war as a way to
keep the sides together, to save the union. but later it had expanded to liberty, freedom and justice. it was more about that than real estate. wounded and dying soldiers at the beach hospital, she comforted and put down many dying soldiers. these were indelible images for the rest of her life that she told the public about later. barton is often considered the civil war nurse who later founded the red cross. she was more than that. she is better understood as a forceful humanitarian who acted on her own, original, unorthodoxed, ideas. she helped establish the
principle that the nations must remember, record, and bury its stead. -- its dead. bookcomes from drew's called "this republic of suffering." she is now the president of harvard. 1865, clara barton was not taking a vacation. she opened up a small correspondence office in the boarding house where she lived on 7th street. theas called the friends of missing men of the united states army. wherewas a waiting office she met with hundreds of people over the course of a year. thousands of people over the course of 2-3 years. she found a way to locate and identify with detective work where were these missing men.
what battle where they in as they fell? at this time, she lost her job as a copyist at the patent office. it was kind of insulting. nobody thanked her for all the work she had done. but you must see how resilient she was. whatever slights she suffered, she always kept her eye on the larger cause. that she ran add, on manic energy at the battlefield. suffered deep depressions. in a way she was alone in the world, but really not. she made the world her own. the missing soldiers period of her life, she met a young man who not only survived andersonville, but he had saved
a secret desk register. to thethe aide commandant who kept records and stole the records. he wanted the world to know what had happened here. it was obviously a fate worse than death to be a andersonville. there was terrible disease, polluted water. it was unspeakable. the commandant of andersonville was hanged for war crimes after the civil war. she made it her personal mission, her destiny, to identify the roughly 13,000 union soldiers who perished there. expedition was ordered by stanton. a gruesome errand in the summer of 1865.
you can imagine how hot it was in georgia under the blazing sun. it was a rough ride, because they were not happy to have her. urging, ahanks to her new national cemetery was quickly underway. when it was finally settled, in the hot georgia son, nearly all the union dead were identified. some with emaciated remains. along with 450 unknown soldier headboards. 1865, thatt day in was recorded by "harpers weekly," the american stars & stripes parades over andersonville to reclaim the ground, the land itself, from the confederacy. clara barton race the colors in the dedication ceremony, front
with formal victory, but also with the hope of healing the torn human spirit. thank you. [applause] i visited where clara barton lived on 7th street just yesterday. i can tell you, if you're curious about that. the rest of her life was very full as well because she went to switzerland where the red cross and the geneva convention were already in place. she came back to the united states with a determination to found the american chapter of the red cross. to persuade our leaders to be part of the geneva convention because she had personally witnessed some of horror and misery in wartime. of went through the crucible
the united states and lived to tell many stories about it. e, lived on 7th street, near and in her later years in flynn echo. she really never stopped until she was in her 90's. she died at the age of 90. she retired about four years before her death. yankee, invery damn my book. she was indefatigable. >> want to know about her family or her education or what brought her to that moment where she was ready to take it on. ms. stiehm: she was born and raised in north oxford, mississippi. her family had a farm. in those days, there was no
college for women, but she did go to a coed academy. massachusetts girls were almost certainly the best educated in the whole united states, because it championed education for both. she was unusual to begin with coming to the south. this is the self. th in those days. she was close to her father and her brothers, she did not get along with her mother at all. one of her older brothers through a sickness for a year when she was young. this all came natural to her. she was a single woman. she never married. being aunusual in single, self-reliant woman here in washington.
her a seat at the spectacle of the civil war, and she was drawn into it. does that answer your question? >> [indiscernible] could you talk more about how that became so they she got as well, and how common that was? ms. stiehm: nursing was women's work, or girls work. growing up, a lot of girls knew how to nurse just the way that they knew how to milk a cow. it was something that was part of their skill set. during the crimean war, it was
established as a profession for teaching, being a governess, running a boarding house -- those were about the only avenues for advancement for women who were not married. the crimean war and the civil war were close in time and both established the need for more emergencies,s, in under pressure, in an organized hospital setting. my great aunt was a nurse and world war i. it was a female dominated profession for decades. it was an honorable one that women could undertake, if they could stand the sight of blood. does that answer your question? there are a lot of nursing schools that universities that tried to elevate it to more than just bandaging wounds.
when she went to geneva, did she meet the founder of the red cross? ms. stiehm: i'm sure that she did. i know that she met with red cross officials. she was not that well aware of the red cross. when she got there, going to switzerland on a well-earned vacation, that she became acquainted face-to-face with the red cross. that really became her most lasting legacy to this day. in her lifetime she was more famous than she is now as the civil war figure. florence nightingale was the lady with the lamp, the angel of the battlefield. there was a period for a couple years where she was on the storiescircuit giving
of her experiences in the civil war and she demanded the same lecture fee that ralph waldo emerson received. she had a strong sense of her own dignity and duty. >> did she helped establish the red cross in this country? ms. stiehm: i don't know. you mean the same kind of resistance to the geneva convention? i don't think so. absolutely, completely determined and undaunted. it might take years to a compass what she set out to do. really what not want to hold that against clara barton. er?e you seen pictures of h she seems ageless and dignified. i saw a hand on this side of the room. no? you mentioned that she suffered from depression.
was there any indication of how she could get herself out of it? ms. stiehm: there was the talk therapy and modern medicines and she has aoday few confidants and she wrote deep,s, detailed, descriptive and flowing letters. i think that was just therapy. day by day. interestingly, florence nightingale and clara barton lived to be 90. they were very close in age. 1821 and thein other in 1820. 1861, she hadf the civil warday
coincided with her age 40 to 44. she was well into adulthood. she had done some teaching as far as women's professions, they can run for office and were not formally involved in politics. women did not have such as a civic identity as a community or domestic role. their election called separate spheres. that women had one and men had another and those should not intertwine that is neither here .or there >> [inaudible]
the relationship and how they were viewed by society at the ?ime ms. stiehm: they carved out their own civic identity. , i wouldn'tt close say they have a friendship they knew of each other. the idea of the lady with the lamp happened in the 1850's with the crimean war. so came shortly after that it was not completely a radical concept. they were both very headstrong if they had been married, they might not have done what they did. you mentioned the author who
is a great scholar of ethical advances. other biographies that you think are particularly good? >> this biography, which i have here, i found very valuable. there is an earlier one by elizabeth prior from the 80's this one is in the 90's. i found it very illuminating and it would be nice to have a collection of letters. the one he quotes at length in here really brings her voice alive i think if she didn't become extinguished for humanitarian work, she might have been a wonderful writer. when the that louisa may alcott also signed up to be a nurse in the civil war and found her sensation inomic
hospital rooms with that music. public?at open to the is it a historical sales -- historical house? >> is quiet and unassuming but there is a missing sign if you look for it. ands every friday, saturday sunday. there is a fee and they sometimes plate period music. every time i had gone before, it was closed. i can tell you that it gives you a real feel for her everyday life. it has high ceilings, beautiful windows and it is right in the heart of the city near city hall and post office.
it gives you a sense of hurt wishing you could get wherever you are going pushing on our a few feet. those in the boarding house remind you that that was a way of life in the 1860's. and abraham lincoln they went across the street to take him to in this city, i think it is well worth going. furniture,have much if youis very evocative -- she was well educated. she received a small inheritance from her father. she wanted to be somebody in the city, that is why she came here.
to get't her ambition married and live on a farm house. .he city was essential to her >> [inaudible] he wasn't a general, he was a lieutenant. -- the love is very letters. we have a picture of him here. he wasn't married, but in wartime, rules tend to evaporate. you live very much in the moment, which is heightened and intensified. that was the love of her life. it was clear when the war ended that they would go their separate ways. >> [inaudible] ms. stiehm: i think he may have been a little older. he really cherished her.
a great fountain for the expression of her deepest feelings. he spoke about how her voice was fragrance and love. it sounds a bit victorian flowery, but she was quite profound in her tenderness toward him and that she received back from him. that was her great romance of her life. in the middle of the civil war. that's romantic, isn't it? hilton head? >> why didn't they marry? ms. stiehm: it was clear that once the war was over they would go back to their everyday civilian lives and he was not going to leave his wife. [laughter] one little detail. >> what year did she found the
red cross? you said she was in switzerland and then came to the united states? ms. stiehm: she went on a two-year voyage. it was important for her well-being to leave the scenes of the carnage. i think it was 1881. or 70? ms. stiehm: 60. i said earlier that was her greatest legacy. that was her last legacy. i believe it to you to say if it is the greatest. concert withs in everything else she had done in her life. she was the perfect person to understand what a difference the red cross can make, and she was also the person who coined the term emergency preparedness. she thought big. bandages,t bring 100
she brought 1000 bandages. hado you think that anything to do with her depression, that she never found anybody? ms. stiehm: no, i think that her depression was with her for a lot of her life. whenever she had a severe disappointment, like many of us, she needed to be by herself and put salve on the wound. 2-3was able to rally after days of being depressed, and maybe she wept and stayed home for a few days after the love affair was over, but that was not a special causal reason. it was with her all her life? ms. stiehm: very likely she may have had manic depression. her life story speaks of it. >> [inaudible] there was not a name
for it then. could you say more about andersonville? i don't know how you even begin to identify -- what is there now? is there a big cemetery or museum? ms. stiehm: as a matter of fact, yes. there is going to be a live event next week in andersonville to mark the flag being raised by ,arah barton, -- clara barton and the soldiers being honored. c-span is going to cover that, too. how do you identify thousands of emaciated corpses? i don't know. maybe they had a name or a badge -- papers on their clothes. she was not doing this alone, she was working with a lot of
soldiers that were infuriated and devastated by what they were witnessing. it was a way to pay homage to them. to this day, andersonville sends chills through people's spines because, it was not just any war camp, it was human rights abuses. water.disgusting n" is when there were beautiful forests -- closed when therearters were beautiful forests. they could've gotten trick of water a mile away. it was almost like they were trying to turn these men into corpses. it will be the marking of the 150 year anniversary of the dedication of andersonville. i have a picture that "harpers
weekly" published of barton raising the colors. i can show you afterward, but to me that is her most outstanding legacy. with resolve, stamina, and love of country -- to be facing that kind of absolute wreckage of the human body, and trying to bring the human spirit to it. i am happy to take more questions, if you have them. about her temperament, her letters. her prose is very touching and moving. she felt things very deeply and she lived at both extremes. >> [inaudible] ms. stiehm: letters to her family, letters to john elwell, who was her lover. she wrote a lot of letters.
people did in those days and she lived right near the post office. [laughter] in fact, there is a 1948 commemorative stamp, which is on the flyer. jerry found it. a it happens, my father was stamp collector in the 30's and 40's growing up, he says i remember that stamp. it was in my collection. a nice circle. >> i wonder if you could say more about how well known she was at the time in the civil war. started she was working in the patent office. how did she become so well known? ms. stiehm: she started out unknown and then gradually comforted so many soldiers that they went home with memories of her, if they got home. and that sheuth, was doing something so
extraordinary. she wasn't a government nurse, it was her own gift to the union. union.ing the by 1865, the fact that stanton had asked her to undertake this mission was remarkable. the fact that she met it with such courage -- by that time she was a national figure, in 1865. i don't think it was her goal to be famous, but that was incidental. she became the only woman doing what she did. don't get me wrong, she had her vanity and her ambition for sure. she was conscious of slights, took them to heart. just rise smoothly, creamy -- it was not an easy path for her.
there were obstacles and barriers along the way that really hurt her. she felt, i am just a woman. she wrote a very sarcasti letter, denigrating being a woman, when she was refused an advance that she asked for. she struggled. that -- they don't tell you how much she struggled for what she accomplished, and for her legacy, and for her vision. in these talks we have been giving, many of them are outsiders who follow their own voice and their own vision. nobody more so than clara barton. >> you mentioned stanton. did he have anything to do with cady stanton? it would be her
brother -- elizabeth cady stanton was not a stanton originally, so many she married into that family and they were distantly related. that is perfectly possible but i do not know for sure. strong personalities in that family. her husband was also famous. he was an abolitionist. they were a well-known american union family. >> did she have a religious upbringing, and do you think that affected her or not? ms. stiehm: no. protestant, but not religious. like abraham lincoln who went to church once and a while just to go. he wasn't a big believer in her. in those days -- believer either. in those days, being religious
was fine, but it wasn't respect -- expected or required. war was going on, and that war came to washington first. this capital was in crisis. i told you that the capitol dome built, byt been 1861. by 1863 it was about half finished, and by 18 62 when lincoln was inaugurated the second time it was done. he knew the power of that symbolism. he refused to take a break or stop construction, we will see what happens. no, abraham lincoln wanted the union's capitol dome to be finished in four years, just like the war. otherwise, this capital was just -- it was like an army camp.
-- itn't nice for wasn't nice for ladies to step in the streets. it was a station for mobilization. once the union got organized, than they were going to win the war. years, ite first 1.5 didn't look good for that union. lincoln could not find the right general. he said to mcclellan, if you are not going to use your army, may i borrow it? fredericksburg. emancipationhe proclamation followed just days later. that shifted the whole round and meaning of the civil war. she caught on to that very quickly. i want you to realize that, not
everybody was an abolitionist in 1861, including walt whitman. they just wanted to save the union. i heard that there were several hundred women who disguised themselves as men to be soldiers in the civil war. is or anything that shows she was her attempted to do that or make that hurt conservation? ms. stiehm: -- her contribution? ms. stiehm: did she want to cross dress? a lot of them were girls who were following sweethearts, like mary. there were a lot of girls who just wanted to be fight and be part of it. clara barton never had that desire. she knew that her contribution was unique and that if she didn't do it, nobody else would. the pictures that you see of her, in some ways she looks very
stately and refined and delicate. she went to the camps, she went to the battles. i don't think she ever wish she was fighting in them -- ever wished she was fighting in them. >> did she ever receive any public accolades and her lifetime? any medals or recognition from the government? ms. stiehm: like the medal of freedom? stanton gave her to go to andersonville, that was the highest honor she could have gotten. she had to work for that one. but, through the rest of her afe, she was considered to be woman of remarkable talent and contribution and work ethic. protestant work ethic that i kept hearing about growing up.
my mother was a professor. she just had so much of it. her best game,e h when there was an emergency, when there were lives to be saved, she could not be stopped. it should make sense that there between oneease-off awman and another, -- see s between one woman and another. but she knew herself that she had these storms. thank you very much. [applause] ms. stiehm: i appreciate your presence and your interest in clara barton. she deserves it. i have some pictures up here if
you would like to take a look. found her address on 7th street in the city directory. [laughter] she and walt whitman in 1862. they did cross paths at fredericksburg. she was tending patients. he never wrote a poem about her. [laughter] he wrote a description of the scene under the treat with piles of legs and arms that had been cut off. that shocked his sensibility, and that is when he realized he was going back to washington. i enjoyed telling you about
clara barton. thank you so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter @cspanh istory, to keep up with the latest history news. >> our objective at the frontier culture museum in stanton, virginia, is to teach people how a unique american folk culture was created through the blending of european, african and indigenous people's cultures. >> this house comes from or
sister -- worceschester, england. people want to have a place of their own. if the oldest son gets everything, than the second and third will need to leave to go to america. koester, and jerry i'm a costumed interpreter on the scotch irish farm. home of a farmer as well as a weaver. that is when these people start leaving ireland to come to america because they wanted a better life. economically, you could say he was a strong farmer, but he was middle-class. definitely not the wealthiest, but far from being the poorest. in the early years of the linen
trade, he was making money so life was good. in the depression, things went bad quick. a lot of people landed in philadelphia because pennsylvania had strong ties with the linen trade. you would either arrive in the delaware valley or philadelphia. being farmers you look for cheap land so you come south on the great wagon road. you ended up someplace odd call the shenandoah valley. >> we are at the 1740's american settlement, also known as the backcountry of the american colonies. here, in comparison to the old world, very different. it was difficult here. climate was very different, harsher summers and winters which would affect crops. it is also different in that it is very wooded, which is very different, especially if you're coming from ireland where you don't have as many trees, and would have in making their homes
out of stone as opposed to logs. using the materials available. another big thing would be the kitchen garden that we have, and that would include crops that would have come over from europe in the kitchen garden would've been a style that would have been used in europe as well. in the field down that way, we have corn being and school -- corn beans and squash. that was an influence from the american indians. they were grown in the same amount. they all grew together and the american indians taught them how to do that. >> this is the first of a two- part series on the frontier culture museum. you can watch this and other american artifacts programs anytime by visiting our website at c-span.org
>> each week american history tv sits in on a lecture. next, san diego state university professor elizabeth cobbs talks about alexander hamilton's role in government. she describes how after the american revolution, state operated as separate countries, which often created problems. hamilton argued during the constitutional convention for a strong, central government to mediate between states. this class is about 50 minutes. elizabeth: i think one of the most exciting things about history and world history is the way we discover how they are big patterns not rule our lives. they touch the livesan